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Colds in Children

Common Cold

Children often suffer from four to six upper respiratory infections each year, including the common cold. As a parent, you’ll probably become an expert on home treatment. Colds are invariably caused by viruses; they do not respond to antibiotic treatments. The only effective treatments are to minimize the common cold symptoms. However, there is no need to worry about colored mucous unless it lasts more than 14 days call Pediatrix if you notice:

  • Fast, heavy or labored breathing or retractions (pulling on chest muscles to breath).
  • A persistent cough which keeps your infant or child from sleeping or eating.
  • Any temperature (101°F and above) in a baby less than six months old or a persistent fever over 101°F. for more than 48 hours in an older child.
  • Increased irritability or marked listlessness.
  • Pulling, batting or tugging at the ears or refusing to suck on the bottle.
  • Appetite may decrease, but refusal of all liquids is cause for concern. Encourage fluids, milk is fine.

Common Cold Treatment in Children:

  • Salt Water Nose Drops: These work well for stuffy noses and are safe for infants. Mix a quarter teaspoon of salt and four ounces of water and place two to three drops in each nostril. Wait a few minutes then try to suction some of the congestion with a blue-bulb syringe. These drops are safe to use in children with a cold and can be given before naps, at bedtime or at mealtime. You may also buy salt water nose drops over the counter. Some brand names include OCEAN NOSE DROPS, AYR DROPS, OR NASAL.
  • Afrin Pediatric Nose Drops for Babies: These drops work very well and you can by them over the counter. They can be used twice a day but only for three days. If they are overused, they can irritate the lining of the nose and cause a rebound effect—i.e. even more congestion.
  • Cool Mist Humidifier: This device moistens the air and may help to shrink the mucus membranes of the nose. Change the water in it daily. Do not use a humidifier if your child has asthma.
  • Elevate the Head of the Crib: In small infants, sometimes propping the head of the crib up slightly may help them to breathe easier. Simply insert pillows beneath the mattress to build up the head.

Over-The-Counter Products: Occasionally, Pediatrix will recommend a decongestant and antihistamine to dry up the congestion. for suggestions and dosages, or other common cold treatment options please contact us.